A state legislator from Buford who was barred from the Georgia House of Representatives chambers for a time during this year’s legislative session for not taking a COVID-19 test has announced he won’t seek another term in office.

State Rep. David Clark, R-Buford, made the announcement on his Twitter page. The lawmaker has represented northwest Gwinnett in the Georgia House since 2015, but has been known for clashing with other Republicans, including Speaker of the House David Ralston, former Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and former state Sen. Renee Unterman.

“It has always been my personal belief that politics is not meant to be a career,” Clark said in his announcement. “Therefore, after much prayer, I have decided that I will not be seeking re-election next year.”

Clark made headlines at the beginning of this year when Ralston expelled him from the House chambers after he would not take COVID tests that lawmakers were required to take regularly this past session.

It was the latest chapter in an ongoing saga between the speaker and Clark, who had previously called for Ralston to resign as speaker in 2019 amid a controversy over Ralston reportedly getting criminal trials where he was an attorney delayed — in some cases for multiple years — if there was a conflict with his legislative duties.

Clark also attacked Cagle and Unterman on the House floor on the final day of the 2018 session by claiming Unterman — a big supporter of Cagle’s gubernatorial bid that year — held up a medical marijuana bill Clark worked on because he had endorsed Clay Tippins, who was one of Cagle’s rivals in the Republican race for governor.

Clark’s decision to not seek re-election leaves an opening in the increasingly Democrat-leaning Gwinnett legislative delegation in the 2022 elections, but it’s in a Republican-leaning part of Gwinnett that Democrats were not able to crack in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, or in the 2018 gubernatorial election.

When Unterman’s Senate seat, which represents the same part of Gwinnett, was open in last year’s election cycle, Republicans were able to hold onto it which indicates Democrats will likely face an uphill battle for Clark’s seat, even without an incumbent running.

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you HD98 for giving me one of the greatest honors of my life in serving and being able to fight for you,” Clark said in his announcement. “I love you all and love our nation with all my heart. I am excited about God’s plan for me and my family.

“And remember, we’re stronger united than divided and it is time Americans realize we’re one nation and one people. God Bless!”

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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